Strikeforce: Fedor Vs. Silva Fight Card Preview

Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva is tonight. How will Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Silva, Andrei Arlovski and Sergei Kharitonov do?

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Strikeforce: Fedor Vs. Silva Fight Card Preview: Fedor Emelianenko Vs. Antonio Silva

The most important fight of the Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva event is easily the main event: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio Silva. "The Last Emperor" looking for redemption against American Top Team heavyweight bruiser "Bigfoot".

After his only true loss last June to Fabricio Werdum, Fedor Emelianeko is looking to quickly rebound by taking on another Brazilian. He enters this bout 34 years old. He stands 6 feet tall and has a 74 inch reach and weighed in at 230 pounds. This is matters get interesting: Silva is 31 years old, stands 6 feet 4 inches tall and has a 82 inch reach. He weighed in yesterday at 264 pounds but most expect him to be north of 275 pounds today.

In terms of their recent opposition, Fedor was submitted by Fabricio Werdum, kocked out Brett Rogers and knocked out Andrei Arlovski at Affliction. Antonio Silva, by contrast, recently defeated Mike Kyle by TKO and Andrei Arlovski by decision. Strangely, he, too, has a loss to Fabricio Werdum, but that loss is by submission.

Does Antonio Silva have a chance to defeat the great Emelianenko? Yes, but the odds are not in his favor. Emelianenko is a natural light heavyweight or middleweight competing at heavyweight. Consequently, he's got exceptional speed and explosion for a heavyweight, something we saw Mike Kyle use against Silva effectively in the first round of their fight. As long as this stays standing, this is Fedor's fight to lose even if we grant Silva is a very capable striker.

On the ground is where Bigfoot can win. He needs to use his superior size to lean on Emelianenko, unleashing his powerful ground and pound. Fedor has excellent hips underneath, but the jiu-jitsu black belt should have enough submission defense to hold his own.

If Silva wins, he'll face with Fabricio Werdum or Alistair Overeem. It would be a massive upset and greatly tilt the balance of power in the heavyweight division. If Emelianenko wins, he, too would face either Overeem or Werdum, setting up a rematch or one of the most highly-anticipated fights at heavyweight in sometime.

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Strikeforce: Fedor Vs. Silva Fight Card Preview: Andrei Arlovski Vs. Sergei Kharitonov

The first quarterfinal fight from the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix tournament at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva, Andrei Arlovski vs. Sergei Kharitonov represents the unheralded but equally important segment of the bracket. Andrei Arlovski enters looking for redemption while Sergei Kharitonov aims to make a mark in the U.S.

Here's how BloodyElbow.com viewed it:

How did these guys get here?

It's been a long fall for Andrei Arlovski. Once a UFC heavyweight champion, Arlovski lost twice to Tim Sylvia before rattling off a string of wins and climbing back to #2 in the USA TODAY / SB Nation Consensus Rankings before meeting Fedor Emelianenko. Arlovski handled himself well for the first three minutes of the bout, out-quicking Fedor before an ill advised flying knee was countered with a brutal right hand that left the Belarusian unconscious on the ground. Arlovski's comeback fight from that did not go better as Brett Rogers blitzed him, TKO'ing him in 22 seconds. Andrei lost one his last bout against Antonio Silva by decision and enters Saturday's fight on a three fight losing streak.

Sergei Kharitonov was thought of as a future star when he entered PRIDE with four straight wins, including a KO of Murilo Rua and a TKO of Semmy Schilt. Kharitonov also holds wins over Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum. In recent years he has looked a bit slower and only fought one MMA bout per year over the last three years. Since 2009 he fought in three K-1 kickboxing bouts, going 1-2 in the fights.

The oddsmakers actually favor Kharitonov over Arlovski.

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Strikeforce: Fedor Vs. Silva Fight Card Preview: Shane Del Rosario Vs. Lavar Johnson

One of the more compelling reserve Strikeforce heavyweight tournament bouts at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva, Shane del Rosario vs. Lavar Johnson actually holds some intrigiung possibilites for the future of the Strikeforce heavyweight division.

Shane del Roso is no Fedor Emelianenko, but he is a prospect worth paying attention to. He is presently undefeated and enters the bout looking a little soft at the weigh-ins, but with plenty of hype. Lavar Johnson has one of the great comeback stories, working his way back to professional fighting shape after being shot as an innocent bystander during a drive-by shooting.

Del Rosario is 26 years old, stands 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed-in yesterday at 248 pounds. Johnson is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed-in at a much leaner 243 pounds. "Big" Johnson was certainly larger than his opposition during the weigh-ins.

Del Rosario enters this bout undefeated, most recently defeating Lolohea Mahe (TKO), Brandon Cash (SUB) and Lloyd Marshbanks (TKO). Johnson, by contrast, is coming in off wins over Virgil Zwicker (KO), W Lolohea Mahe (TKO), W Carl Seumanutafa (KO).

In terms of the fight, Johnson can't really go the distance and doesn't have much to say for his skills at this level beyond his power. Del Rosario has more ways to win and should take the nod, but he was to make it through a tough first round against Johnson to do so.

Shane del Rosario is favored over Lavar Johnson by the oddsmakers anywhere from -185 to -233.

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Strikeforce: Fedor Vs. Silva Fight Card Preview: Chad Griggs Vs. Gian Villante

Another reserve bout on the fight card at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva and the second fight on the main card is Chad Griggs vs. Gian Villante. Chad Griggs is most famously known for his previous Strikeforce win over former professional wrestler Bobby Lashley. Gian Villante is less well-known to casual mixed martial arts (MMA) fans, but is a favorite of the hardcores with his brutalizing run through Ring of Combat (ROC), a New Jersey-based MMA organization.

Of the two, Villante is clearly the higher-end prospect. Villante is 25 years old, 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighed-in yesterday at 227 pounds. By contrast, Griggs is 32 years old, 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighed-in yesterday at 229 pounds. In other words, both would be better suited at light heavyweight.

Griggs enters this bout with his notable over Bobby Lashley as well as wins over Jon Alexander (KO) and Eric Garcia (TKO). Villante is coming in off a win over Joseph Reyes (TKO) and Mike Cook. He does have a loss in his last two fights, but suffered an injury during the course of the fight.

Villante is a former NCAA Division I-AA football All-American. He is the superior athlete of the two and can win either by strikes or submissions. Griggs is certainly durable and uses his size well, but is technically and athletically outmatched here.

The oddsmakers have Villante as the considerable favorite, anywhere from -255 to -325.

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Strikeforce: Fedor Vs. Silva Fight Card Preview: Ray Sefo Vs. Valentijn Overeem

The first bout on tonight's Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva event features a heavyweight tilt that's a tournament reserve bout for the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament between two combat sports veterans. Ray Sefo vs. Valentijn Overeem pits a kickboxing legend against the brother of a current kickboxing great.

Ray Sefo is a multiple-time world muay Thai champion who has barely dipped his toes in mixed martial arts. He currently trains with Randy Couture at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has two bouts in MMA, both wins, but both were not against top competition. Sefo is renowned for having an excellent chin, heavy punches, but slow movement and virtually no ground game.

Valentijn Overeem, the older brother of Alistair Overeem, has a long history in MMA essentially as a middler. He wins just a few more than he loses. His top win was over a very green Randy Couture in the 2000 RINGS tournament. Since then he's been inconsistent at best, fighting irregularly and losing regularly.

In terms of physical dimensions, Overeem is 34 years old, 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighed in yesterday at 239 pounds. Sefo, by contrast, is 39 years old, 6 feet tall and weighed in yesterday at 249 pounds.

Overeem enters this bout with an historic win over Randy Couture, although that seems like a lifetime ago. His last three fights are as follows: W Cătălin Zmărăndescu (KO), W Tengiz Tedoradze (KO), L Rafal Dabrowski (SUB). Sefo: W Kevin Jordan (TKO), W Min-Soo Kim (KO)

The Jordan win for Sefo is respectable, but will hardly prepare him for the deeper waters of the true contenders in Strikeforce's tournament. Overeem should be able to take Sefo down and either submit him or TKO him from on top. But he's got such a propensity to lose focus during the course of the fight, anything could happen.

Oddsmakers have Overeem the betting favorite, anywhere from -140 to -182.

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Strikeforce: Fedor Vs. Silva Fight Card Preview

Tonight's Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva event at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey makes the beginning of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix tournament. The event plays host the following major fights:

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio Silva
Andrei Arlovski vs. Sergei Kharitonov
Shane del Rosario vs. Lavar Johnson
Chad Griggs vs. Gian Villante
Ray Sefo vs. Valentijn Overeem

Here's what's at stake for each fighter tonight:

Fedor Emelianenko: the former top fighter and heavyweight in the sport is looking to rebound after his stunning loss in June to Fabricio Werdum. He enters as the tournament favorite. "Bigfoot" Silva is a legitimate opponent, but Fedor's speed and movement should be the difference.

Antonio Silva: this is easily the biggest fight of his career. Silva, an American Top Team product, must use his size to control Fedor positionally if he has any chance of winning.

Andrei Arlovski: the former UFC heavyweight champion desperately needs a win. He's lost three in a row and could be removed from the top 25 of MMA heavyweights with a fourth consecutive defeat.

Sergei Kharitonov: the PRIDE, K-1 and DREAM veteran has the opportunity to make a big statement to U.S. MMA fans and Strikeforce brass by beating a known commodity in Arlovski. He must ensure Arlovski doesn't use his superior athleticism to stick and move.

Shane del Rosario: the undefeated fighter needs to continue to accumulate experience by defeating a powerful, but technically deficient Lavar "Big" Johnson.

Lavar Johnson: the power puncher Johnson must make sure the fight does not go the distance and force del Rosario to strike with him if he has any chance to win.

Chad Griggs: with nothing to lose, the former victor over Bobby Lashley should look to drag Villante into third round waters - somewhere the top prospect has never been.

Gian Villante: the Ring of Combat native has to live up to the hardcore fan hype. Fortunately he has the skills to win anywhere in the fight.

Ray Sefo: at 39, he doesn't have much to offer, but he has a big advantage over Overeem standing.

Valentijn Overeem: the brother of Alistair Overeem must take Sefo to the ground look to wear out the older man in a dimension of the game where he's got considerably fewer skills.

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